Re: Reference Counting

Kai-Uwe Bux <>
Sun, 28 Sep 2008 03:50:30 -0400
<gbnd07$q34$> wrote:

These are difference template arguments:

  template template arguments


  template typename arguments

There is also template arguments that are just integer literals or

What is template template arguments and template typename arguments ?

What about reading a little?

The reason i write in policy based design is because this is the
requirement of the assignment.



My code so far:

#include "StoragePolicy.h"

template <typename T,
template <class>
class StoragePolicy = DefaultSPStorage,

template <class>
class OwnershipPolicy = RCPtr,

template <class>
class ConversionPolicy = DisallowConversion

Way too complicated. Start with a smart pointer that only has different
ownership policies, e.g., a reference counted ownership and a deep copy

class smart_ptr
T* operator->()
return aType;

Not good. The operator->() is a typical example of an operator that you will
want a policy to provide. There should be no hard-coded aType in your smart

T& operator*()
return *aType;

operator* on the other hand, can be defined in terms of operator->() quite
generically as:

  reference operator* ( void ) const {
    return( *( this->operator->() ) );

Also: how is smart_ptr supposed to take advantage of all these policies?

[snip lots of "code"]

Maybe, you are in need of an example showing how policies actually can be
used to (a) reuse code that is common and (b) supply the code that differs.
Here is a simple smart pointer with two different ownership models:

#include <algorithm>
#include <functional>
using std::swap;

template < typename T >
class refcounted_policy {

  typedef T value_type;
  typedef value_type * pointer;
  typedef value_type const * const_pointer;

  struct count {
    pointer the_ptr;
    unsigned long ref_count;

    count ( pointer ptr )
      : the_ptr ( ptr )
      , ref_count ( 1 )

    ~count ( void ) {
      delete ( the_ptr );

  count * count_ptr;


  void swap ( refcounted_policy & lhs, refcounted_policy rhs ) {
    swap( lhs.count_ptr, rhs.count_ptr );
  refcounted_policy ( pointer ptr )
    : count_ptr( new count ( ptr ) )
  refcounted_policy ( refcounted_policy const & other )
    : count_ptr ( other.count_ptr )
    ++ count_ptr->ref_count;

  ~refcounted_policy ( void ) {
    -- count_ptr->ref_count;
    if ( count_ptr->ref_count == 0 ) {
      delete( count_ptr );
  refcounted_policy & operator= ( refcounted_policy other ) {
    swap ( *this, other );
    return( *this );

  const_pointer operator-> ( void ) const {
    return( count_ptr->t_ptr );
  pointer operator-> ( void ) {
    return( count_ptr->t_ptr );


template < typename T >
class deepcopy_policy {

  typedef T value_type;
  typedef value_type * pointer;
  typedef value_type const * const_pointer;

  pointer the_ptr;


  void swap ( deepcopy_policy & lhs, deepcopy_policy rhs ) {
    swap( lhs.the_ptr, rhs.the_ptr );
  deepcopy_policy ( pointer ptr )
    : the_ptr( ptr )
  deepcopy_policy ( deepcopy_policy const & other )
    : the_ptr ( other.the_ptr ? new value_type ( *other.the_ptr ) : 0 )

  ~deepcopy_policy ( void ) {
    delete ( the_ptr );
  deepcopy_policy & operator= ( deepcopy_policy other ) {
    swap ( *this, other );
    return( *this );

  const_pointer operator-> ( void ) const {
    return( the_ptr );
  pointer operator-> ( void ) {
    return( the_ptr );

template < typename T,
           template <class> class ownership_policy >
class smart_ptr :
  public ownership_policy< T >

  typedef ownership_policy< T > ownership;

  typedef T value_type;
  typedef value_type * pointer;
  typedef value_type const * const_pointer;
  typedef value_type & reference;
  typedef value_type const & const_reference;

  smart_ptr ( pointer ptr = 0 )
    : ownership ( ptr )

  const_reference operator* ( void ) const {
    return( *( this->operator->() ) );
  reference operator* ( void ) {
    return( *( this->operator->() ) );

  bool operator== ( smart_ptr const & lhs, smart_ptr const & rhs ) {
    return ( lhs.operator->() == rhs.operator->() );
  bool operator!= ( smart_ptr const & lhs, smart_ptr const & rhs ) {
    return ( lhs.operator->() != rhs.operator->() );
  bool operator< ( smart_ptr const & lhs, smart_ptr const & rhs ) {
    return ( std::less<pointer>
             ( lhs.operator->(), rhs.operator->() ) );

  bool operator<= ( smart_ptr const & lhs, smart_ptr const & rhs ) {
    return ( std::less_equal<pointer>
             ( lhs.operator->(), rhs.operator->() ) );

  bool operator> ( smart_ptr const & lhs, smart_ptr const & rhs ) {
    return ( std::greater<pointer>
             ( lhs.operator->(), rhs.operator->() ) );

  bool operator>= ( smart_ptr const & lhs, smart_ptr const & rhs ) {
    return ( std::greater_equal<pointer>
             ( lhs.operator->(), rhs.operator->() ) );

#include <iostream>

struct Base {

  Base ( void ) {
    std::cout << "base is born.\n";
  Base ( Base const & other ) {
    std::cout << "base is copied.\n";
  virtual ~Base () {
    std::cout << "base dies.\n";

  std::ostream & operator<< ( std::ostream & ostr,
                              Base const & obj ) {
    return( ostr << "base" );

int main ( void ) {
    smart_ptr< Base, deepcopy_policy > a_ptr ( new Base() );
    smart_ptr< Base, deepcopy_policy > b_ptr ( a_ptr );
    smart_ptr< Base, deepcopy_policy > c_ptr ( a_ptr );
    a_ptr = smart_ptr< Base, deepcopy_policy >();
    std::cout << "first handle deleted.\n";
    b_ptr = smart_ptr< Base, deepcopy_policy >();
    std::cout << "second handle deleted.\n";
  std::cout << "------------------------\n";
    smart_ptr< Base, refcounted_policy > a_ptr ( new Base() );
    smart_ptr< Base, refcounted_policy > b_ptr ( a_ptr );
    smart_ptr< Base, refcounted_policy > c_ptr ( a_ptr );
    a_ptr = smart_ptr< Base, refcounted_policy >();
    std::cout << "first handle deleted.\n";
    b_ptr = smart_ptr< Base, refcounted_policy >();
    std::cout << "second handle deleted.\n";

Note that derived classes are not handled correctly (true cloning is missing
from the deepcopy policy). Also, there is no support for incomplete types.
In short, many things that you would expect from a good smart pointer are


Kai-Uwe Bux

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